[uf-discuss] rel -vs- rev

Ryan King ryan at theryanking.com
Mon Feb 25 12:43:02 PST 2008

On Feb 25, 2008, at 9:35 AM, Toby A Inkster wrote:
> The following is part of the rel FAQ <http://microformats.org/wiki/rel-faq 
> >
> | However, given that the 'rev' attribute has been more often  
> misused by
> | authors than properly used (Google Code: Web Authoring Statistics:  
> Link
> | Relationships <http://code.google.com/webstats/2005-12/ 
> linkrels.html>)
> | is it even a good idea to use rev at all?
> |
> | The short answer is unfortunately "no". Use of "rev" SHOULD be  
> avoided.
> |
> | However, VoteLinks' use of rev has been grandfathered since it was  
> such
> | an early use. No future microformats should be developed that use  
> 'rev',
> | and any use of 'rev' (apart from the "grand-fathered" case of  
> VoteLinks)
> | is deprecated in microformats.
> This seems to me to have been an entirely arbitrary decision. Apart  
> from
> the cited Google study, was there any other justification given for  
> this?

I don't think 'arbitrary' is a good characterization of the decision.

Besides the Google study, there are no other formal studies that I  
know of, but plenty of anecdotal experience that demonstrates that rel- 
vs-rev is confusing for authors.

In addition to this evidence, the current draft of HTML5 does not  
include rev (by design), so in the interest of building microformats  
on top of existing standards (HTML4) in a future-compatible way  
(HTML5) we should avoid using @rev.

Additionally, experience with VoteLinks indicated that authors didn't  
understand or even know about @rev.

> Looking at the cited Google study it shows that, of the top twenty
> relationships used on the web, only one of them uses "rev" at all, and
> appears to do so correctly! The quoted rel="made" at position #21 in  
> the
> survey is *assumed* to be an incorrect usage, though one can easily
> imagine plausible uses for such a construct. (e.g. a web designer's
> portfolio, linking to various sites that he's made.) So this study  
> does
> not seem to show a significant degree of incorrect usage of rev.
> Besides which, there are millions of pages out there that  
> incorrectly use
> the alt="" attribute to produce tooltips, whether or not the  
> contents are
> suitable as alternative text. Just because there are so many  
> examples of
> abuse of the attribute, it doesn't make sense to avoid using it for  
> its
> correct purpose. In fact, quite the opposite -- when an attribute is
> frequently misused, we ought to be using it correctly whenever  
> possible,
> and encouraging others to do so as well.

Usage of @alt is irrelevant here. @alt isn't used for structured data,  
@rev is.

> rev, though not used particularly frequently is a very useful  
> attribute.
> As an example, there is currently a debate on the xfn-brainstorming  
> wiki
> page about what value of rel to use to link to "someone of whom you  
> are a
> fan". Suggestions include:
> 	* rel="source"
> 	* rel="leader"
> 	* rel="influencer"
> 	* rel="idol"
> 	* rel="subscription"
> Surely, a simple rev="fan" is far more elegant solution?

Unfortunately the World Wide Web is a messy place, and elegance isn't  
always an option.

> I think that rev offers great utility to microformats, and shouldn't  
> be
> dismissed out of hand -- and certainly not based on the current  
> evidence
> on the wiki! Ask not what you can do for your rev, as what your rev  
> can do
> for you!

Your characterization of the decision as "out of hand" doesn't account  
for the several years of discussion that went into it.


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